A Tesla Model 3 driving on ‘autopilot’ smacked into a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser (pictured) on Saturday morning, narrowly missing the driver of the cruiser who had stopped in order to help a disabled vehicle.
The incident is the 12th such smash involving a Tesla on autopilot mode and an emergency vehicle in the US since January 2018.
All the cars which have been struck had their lights flashing, or had deployed an emergency flare, illuminated warning sign, or cones, raising questions about whether they may have confused the Tesla’s sensors.
Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a formal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driving system after it was involved in 11 prior accidents – one deadly – that may be the result of the system’s issues spotting parked emergency vehicles.
Saturday’s smash happened after the 28-year-old trooper, who has not been named, stopped shortly after 5 am on August 28 on I-4 near downtown Orlando while responding to a broken down car.
He put on his emergency lights and was walking over to a disabled vehicle when the Tesla hit the cruiser’s left side, according to a copy of the police report seen by DailyMail.com.
The Tesla also hit the broken down car, a 2012 Mercedes Benz GLK 350, according to the report. All three cars were badly damaged by the force of impact, although it is unclear how fast the Tesla was traveling when it crashed.
The 26-year-old unnamed Tesla driver and the 27-year-old driver of the Mercedes suffered from minor injuries, though the trooper was unhurt.
In an email to DailyMail.com, Montes said the crash is still under investigation.
Montes added that the agency’s fleet manager will be notifying the NHTSA today.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has not yet responded to a tweet asking for a comment from DailyMail.com.
The electric vehicle maker has disbanded its traditional media relations office. …
This incident is just the latest in a string of accidents where Tesla’s autopilot feature has played a role, prompting a formal investigation from the U.S. government.
The aforementioned NHTSA investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driving system came after it was involved in 11 prior accidents – one deadly – that may be the result of the system’s issues spotting parked emergency vehicles.
The investigation covers 765,000 vehicles, nearly everything Tesla has sold domestically since 2014. Of the 11 crashes that have been identified over the past three years, 17 people were injured and one was killed.
That deadly accident happened in Interstate 70 in Cloverdale, Indiana, in December 2019 and saw passenger Jenna Monet, 23, killed after the Tesla being driven by her husband Derrick slammed into the back of a parked firetruck.
The 11 prior crashes have occurred when Teslas on Autopilot or Traffic-Aware Cruise Control hit vehicles at scenes where first responders have used flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board, or cones warning of hazards.
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